Motherhood, Uncategorized, Upcycled DIY

Thanksgiving Tradition: Gratitude Wine Corks

Thanksgiving never was my favorite holiday growing up, but as I get older I cherish that day where I can really reflect on what I am thankful for in the year passing. While pumpkin pies, turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole,  and sweet potato casserole (my fav) are all enticing…it’s that question “What are you thankful for?” that is starting to become the tradition I look forward to. It’s our 2nd year of incorporating gratitude wine corks into our Thanksgiving tradition, and I’m already thinking about what I’ll put down this year!

We’re living in an age where much of our “happiness” through the eyes of society is starting to be defined by materialistic things, although it’s refreshing to see that the reality is… most of what we’re actually grateful for has to do with: family, loved ones, good health, and job security. Taking these moments at the Thanksgiving table of looking back on the past year and remembering what we have to be thankful for is sooooo good for our soul.

Last year was Little Johnny’s 1st Thanksgiving. We decided to stay here in Florida as a family and have the traditional meal just the 3 of us. I cooked my 1st turkey EVER (definitely a milestone for me) and I still wanted to “set the table pretty” along with making all the yummy side dishes. I’m a sucker for traditions and the cutesy things we all see on Pinterest. As I was searching online I did have one goal in mind…whatever traditions we were setting for our 1st Thanksgiving as a family of 3, I wanted it to be simple. We all know that if something is too complicated or there’s too much preparation, it probably won’t happen another time. Traditions are set to be simple so that we can carry them on throughout the years.

After doing a google search on “Thanksgiving Traditions’  I came across this image of wine corks with words of gratitude written on them. I wish I knew exactly where I got the idea from, but I can’t seem to remember (#mombrain). I placed 3 wine corks (yes, Little Johnny had one too) at our table along with a permanent marker. (bonus point is that wine corks add a fun decor item to your table setting as well). After we ate I posed the question to our little family…

“What are you thankful for?”

We wrote down one thing that we were most thankful for in the passing year along with our name and date. These gratitude wine corks have been displayed in a mason jar which sits right by our kitchen window for this past year! I love looking at it because it helps me to narrow in on the right perspective on life when things get tough.

I thought this was a great opportunity to share with my readers because it’s simple, but yet meaningful…which I know you all like! So, go ahead incorporate this idea into your family’s Thanksgiving traditions (It may require you to drink some wine too ;)) . I truly wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and I hope we can all take a moment to remember life is about having the right perspective.

So, I ask you… “What are you thankful for?”

P.S. If you want to view more Thanksgiving Traditions, visit my previous post about “25 Thanksgiving Traditions“.

Wishing you well,

Life Challenges, Motherhood

When life gets you down “just keep swimming”.

Leave it to a fish with short term memory loss to be brilliant with reciting a famous line, over and over and over again. Words of such simplicity, but so much meaning behind them.
Have you ever been in what I call “a funk” and it seems like life is out to get you? Well, that’s where Dory’s famous words come in handy, especially when it’s on continuous repeat in our mind “Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming“. It gives us the opportunity to shift our mindset and swim out of that deep dark tunnel (where all the bad fish are).  Someone wise once told me it’s called tunnel vision (if you’re reading this, you know who you are.)
I have interpreted this into NOT “running away from problems” but dealing with them full force with a different attitude. (Because I’ve been the type to think even the smallest of problems my world was shutting down.)
Warning: This post is not recipe related, diy related, or any parenting hacks…simply just words related to emotions…proceed at your own risk… (seriously though at least scroll to the bottom for an amazing book review)
I’m not one to hide the fact that I too have my own life struggles, just like anyone else, it’s simply human nature. Recently there have been moments where I have wanted to hide under a blanket and just be in my own “Mom fort” for a little while (long enough to BREATHE). Have you ever tried it? Imagine being in a quiet and calm place where no one can find you… Sounds so peaceful, right?!
Life is complicated, messy, and hard. PERIOD. but the good news is there’s usually always something good waiting for you (that’s the “just keep swimming part”). Bottom line is, when you recognize that this is LIFE and although the hard times aren’t necessarily going away, a little twist on your perspective can make those problems not seem as big.
Always, always, ALWAYS think about the good happenings in your life. Big John is actually really good at reminding me of this. It’s definitely difficult at times to “see” that good, but that’s where the change in perspective helps you to put on your “googles” so you can actually see where you’re swimming.
No one needs to know your struggles, we all have them, but in different ways (sometimes it just shows in our face)…what people do need to see is how you’re perceiving life. Be kind, jubilant, grateful, and humble throughout the day. Something I’m striving for when I drag myself out of bed and rise to a new day.
I needed a moment to write this to you because I had my “mommy melt down” recently where stress was just built up, and it exploded inside of me. (We have all been there, I’m sure!) I won’t go into details about the underlying factors, but let’s just say I’m overworking myself. I also came to realize my perspective on things was a bit off
I’m tired too (which I know many readers can relate) and a voice inside my head was calling for me to slow down my swim strokes, but keep going. Slow isn’t a bad thing…remember the Tortoise and the Hare story?! My point is, don’t get distracted by negativity in life, or anxious thoughts that keep swirling around in your head. Let the water guide you through the current and set ease on a new perspective. (I’m pretty sure I’m just giving myself a pep talk!)
My sister recently sent me a book (can’t thank you enough, sissy!)  Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy Beautiful Life by Glennon Doyle Melton. It’s a read that every mama should have on her list! They’re short essays about finding that balance between messy and beautiful within life situations. Along with accepting that life isn’t always “peachy”, and you know what it’s okay. She’s an authentic writer who helps you to build connections, understand that you can “do hard things”, and even gives you moments of laughter. Glennon takes you through scenarios in her everyday life where her perspective on things started to change, and guess what? She’s living a much happier lifestyle. She kept swimming.

Today my friends, take these thoughts with you…


  • keep swimming through life, but with a new perspective…meaning-be grateful for what you have, stop comparing to others, and hold your head high to find the beauty in your daily grind. (I know… easier said than done, but it’s definitely an achievable thing with persistence and the right mindset.)
  • everyday see what you have to be thankful for, maybe even make a mental list
  • see the good out of those messy situations (trust me there usually is at least 1 good thing)
  • it’s okay that life is messy sometimes,  you will survive (you may start to become the best swimmer yet!)
  • self care-slow down and take care of yourself
I write off here leaving you with a gift of reading. I’ll pause here so you can look this book up on Amazon and purchase this as a present for yourself (consider it from me;) )
Remember when life gets you down, let the wise words of Dory whisper to you on repeat “just keep swimming”, and you’ll whisper back to yourself…

“Be grateful, Be humble, Be calm. AND Remember who controls the winds and the waves.”

A bit of a deeper post for me, but a much needed one.

Wishing you well,

~Amanda
Motherhood, Recipes

Tips and Tricks with Saving Money on Groceries & 7 Day Menu

We all like to save money and if we can eat well out of it too, than it’s a win win in all situations! Let me start off by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post. I am simply sharing my tips and tricks that are helping us to save money on our grocery bill, along with the new found love I have for…Aldi.  We all have to grocery shop at some point, so why not save money while you’re doing it without the extra step of couponing!

I always new about Aldi, but never actually shopped there until I started staying home with Little Johnny. We had to find all kinds of ways to cut back on our spending and the grocery bill was a huge oneMy only complaint is that right now I do have to drive about 20-25 minutes to get to the store, so let’s get on building an Aldi near us, shall we?! 🙂 Mind you, we live right next to a Publix too…so it’s very tempting to just say “forget the drive” but the amount we save is so worth it!

Here’s a little secret about me…I am not a couponer…(if that’s even a word, haha)! I applaud all mamas that take the time to coupon. I don’t have the patience for that right now and I realize how much money you can save along with even getting money back sometimes, but my life is already a little hectic so I’m just keeping it simple with a few tips & tricks that drastically help to cut back on our grocery bill!

This grocery trip I spent $67.89, which includes a planned out menu for 7 meals (I’m a pinterest meal planner :)) and a few added snacks, and beverages. We are a family of 4, so we tend to have a lot of leftovers that ends up just being our lunch for the week. Before I share my menu with links to the recipes, let’s get into a few tips &tricks that I have been doing to save.

Tips & Tricks with Saving $ on Groceries


  • Shop at Aldi- There prices are  unbelievably cheap, and you’re not risking the quality of your meals either. So far we have no complaints. (By the way this week the eggs were 48 cents & avocados were 89 cents!
  • plan out your menu for the week and write down a grocery list!
    • It’s a bit of work to complete this, but well worth it throughout the week because I don’t have to worry about thinking “what’s for dinner”. I just look at my board and I’m good to go, it truly is a lifesaver for the weekly dinner time stress. And by the way, I’m a traditional lady with grocery lists and I literally just write it down on scrap paper.
  • Stick to your list!
    • This is always the hardest thing for me, but sticking to your list and not adding on is one of the easiest ways you’ll save (but it does take some self-control on your part..)
  • buy in large quantities of meat and use it for more than 1 meal
    • For example the pork roast will do us for a couple of meals, so I planned 2 dinners out of it…pulled pork sandwiches and pulled pork nachos.
  • build your spice cabinet!
    • I have collected a variety of spices over the last couple of months which has helped me to not have buy more spices.
  • Check your fridge and cabinets before you grocery shop!
    • This is another simple one, but something I’m even guilty of not always doing! When I see that we still have some leftover fruits/veggies along with other spices I try to incorporate it into my planned out meals (mostly as side dishes) so they’re not going to waste!  You’d be surprised with the variety of things you can make out of leftovers, which also tastes yummy too! (Google is a great friend for this! ;))
  • use “protein fillers” within meat-
    • I buy cans of black beans every time I go grocery shopping and I use them within my ground turkey or other meals as “protein fillers” so that I can divide the pound of meat into at least 2 meals!
  • Use a calculator! 
    • I’m going old school with this, but it truly helps to keep track of what you’re spending!
  • Skip the snack aisle and shop your produce & meats first!
    • I use to does this backwards where I would shop for the things that are just extras, but sometimes we just don’t have the wiggle room to purchase them. So when I shop for the necessities first than I can see if I am able to splurge.
  • pay with cash and leave all your cards at home!
    • This might be extreme, but if you don’t have the cards on hand and are limited to just the money you have, those extra snacks that you really don’t need won’t be added on… I’m so bad with getting caught up in the snack aisle and even though it’s small added costs, it does add up.

7 Day Menu for the Week 


(we are not on any type of diet, we simply eat food that sounds good to us but in balanced portions.)

I have included all the links to where I found the recipes so make sure to click on them!

Meal #1 Sunday

Main Dish- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Side Dish- I already had sweet potatoes so I just added it as our side. You can also include honey cinnamon butter! 

photo credit is to allrecipes.com

(P.S. here’s a quick and easy trick I learned to bake sweet potatoes in the microwave if you’re in a hurry, wet a paper towel and wrap it around each potato…it creates a “steamed approach” to cooking them.) 

Meal #2 Monday

Main Dish- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup & Garlic Bread 

This is a really easy recipe, but still gives it that “homemade taste”.

Meal #3 Tuesday

Main Dish- Ground Turkey Enchiladas 

Side Dish- Tomato & Corn Lemon Salad 

Easiest side dish ever! Simply mix in a can of corn, cilantro, and chopped tomatos. Then add lemon juice and salt to taste. (Usually I add black beans too, but the enchiladas already call for them.) 

photo credit is to diethood.com

Meal #4 Wednesday

Main Dish- Southwestern Chicken Alfredo Pasta 

Meal #5 Thursday

Main Dish- Pulled Pork Nachos

I’m using my leftover pulled pork from earlier in the week. I even had enough to freeze for another meal.

Meal #6 Friday

Main Dish- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza  

photo credit is to countrysidecravings.com

Meal # 7 Saturday

Main Dish- Baked Ziti 

photo credit is to countrycook.com

What are some tips that you do to save on your grocery bill? I hope this has helped you in planning out your meals as I know it can be a bit stressful at times! Enjoy!

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

 

Family Adventures, Motherhood

10 Ways to $ave Money & Contribute to Finances as a Stay -At- Home- Mom

What a title, huh?! Finances have never been my strong suit, but I’m learning that in order for me to stay at home I better crack down on our spending habits and be smart about how we can save money. Before I dive into my list let’s talk about the 4th of July weekend festivities! Sunday afternoon was a beach day for the Florida Morehouse Family. We arrived at the beach around 3:30 (Cherie Down Park is one of our favorite spots in Cocoa Beach!) and didn’t get home until 11:30pm! That’s probably the latest Little Johnny has ever stayed out, and boy was he a party animal! We decided to venture over to Cape Canaveral’s Harbor to see the firework display.

Okay, let’s talk $avings now!

The decision to stay at home and cut back to one income these days is extremely rare and a very difficult decision to make. On those circumstances though, you have to make sacrifices and realize where in your monthly expenses you can cut back. While being a stay at home mom I have moments where I feel helpless because I’m not “contributing” financially, but now that I look at it I really am doing a whole lot to help out with our finances. I have learned that here are other ways to help out with saving/ contributing to the everyday finances. Making a list always helps to visualize exactly how that’s happening, so here’s the list!

10 Ways to $ave Money & Contribute to Finances

as a Stay-At-Home-Mom


1.Cut Cable Completely – We have been using hulu for a while now, and quite honestly all the shows that we watch are on there. I have no complaints. We have a very busy schedule and sometimes we don’t even have time to watch tv…so why waste money, right?!

2. Home Cooked Meals- While we love to eat out (the convenience is so nice, isn’t it?) we just don’t have room in our budget to do so. When cooking meals at home it saves us so much money! I try to plan out our weekly menu with a variety of foods that we would like to order in restaurants. (I get a lot of my inspiration from other blogs as well!) I even made homemade tortilla chips one day and they were so easy & delicious! It can be something small as well, like making your own brewed sweet tea and drinking it out of a Mason Jar! It’s the little added touches that make the experience at home fun! 😉

3.Shopping at Aldi- I would love to get into couponing someday, but man that seems like so much work and dedication! I applaud all those who are true couponers! Way to go! My way of saving on groceries is by shopping at Aldi. We save so much here and they range in a variety of foods, plus they also have an organic selection and some name brand items. Before I go I try to always meal plan and use the most recent flyer as a guide. It’s definitely a process, but it saves a ton of money along with writing out my meals for the week.

4.Driving Less- We try not to venture too far during the week, and occasionally we’ll drive out to the beach on the weekends, but that’s about it. We have a park close by that we can walk to and other close things nearby as well (I am so thankful for the location we are in.) I have learned to adapt to hobbies at home such as cooking, reading, art projects with Little Johnny, and just enjoying our home.

5. DIYing- This one is fun for me! While some DIY projects can be expensive, not all of them are. DIY projects range in all sorts of categories from sewing your own clothes to family pictures and home decor projects. (I also include food in this topic as well.) Whatever it is that you would love to go out and purchase, try creating it yourself first. It doesn’t have to be anything huge either. We don’t own a home, but I know that home repairs are always the cheapest way to go for most projects. (YouTube is a great friend for that!) It may take more time, but the amount you’ll save is worth it.

6. Consignment Store Shopping- We have bought most of Little Johnny’s clothes (and toys) at Once Upon A Child. Their clothes are at a really great price, but the best part is the quality is amazing! I have bought so many clothes (name brand too) that still have the price tag on them. The best part is we actually get compliments from others about a certain outfit that looks cute on Little Johnny.

7. Clothes Shopping is put to a STOP- While I seriously love to shop for clothes, it’s been almost one year since I purchased any new clothes item for myself and Big John. Of course when we do need something we’ll go out and buy it, but for now our clothes are still in good shape and I’m finding things in the back of my closet I can fit into that I couldn’t wear after having a baby (although we’re mostly in our gym clothes anyways with running a Martial Arts gym).

8. Barter System- We’re going back to the olden days where this is what women use to do. “I’ll give you something in return for something I need”. Whether it’s helping out in doing a babysitting swap or a switch out of toys, this is a great approach to save money. If you want to take it a step further, managing a blog can be a great bartering tool for entertainment and children activities that you would like to be involved with.

9. At Home Date Nights- While it’s nice to go out and get away from the house, but when you factor in the cost of a babysitter, plus the expense of entertainment for the night…it adds up quick! We have yet to try this one  as our schedules are so busy, but I would love to set up a date night in our house as it’s so important to stay connected and have one-on-one time in a marriage, even when schedules are busy! It can be simply just making a favorite meal together and watching a movie with your favorite treats. If you want to really take it to the next level, here is a post I found on some unique “At Home Date Night Ideas“. (Now, the trick is convincing your husband to do some of these! 😉 ) You can also do “at home happy hours with friends!” how fun, right?! Remember it’s all about the ambience!

10. Develop a “Turn it off” Rule-This one seems like a no brainer, but there have been so many times in the past where I just leave lights on when no one is in the room. Now I’m becoming more conscious and trying to turn all electricity off (including fans) when no one is using them. These are just small ways to cut back on the utility bills. If you want to know more easy money saving tips on utilities, click here.

 

**Bonus**

Freelance Work- Finding something that can bring in a little extra money can be a huge help! Even if it’s just paying one bill. Recently I have been working for VIP Kid and with the amount of classes I teach I am almost at my monthly goal with being able to pay our rent! (So far I have also helped 2 other moms to reach their goals of earning money while staying at home too! I find so much joy from that!) There are many types of small jobs you can do from home, although the tricky part is finding one that fits your schedule along with something that isn’t sketchy…

Other Resources


Recently I have been looking into the Dave Ramsey system, have you hear of him? He’s the one that guides millions (maybe billions, I’ll have to check into that) of people to become “debt free”. He has a talk show that I have been listening to and I was skeptical at first about becoming debt free on one incomebut I have heard so many positive stories, and it can be done! This is a goal of ours that I have now come to terms that we can start working on, even with living on one income. We will work on the baby steps of becoming “debt free” so that one day we can live a less stressful life where we are not tied down to “bils”. It won’t happen over night, and that’s something I think I had to come to terms with…we need to just “buckle down” and realize that with time and determination, it can happen.

One thing that helps to keep track of finances and not indulge in over spending is keeping track of your budget. I’ll be honest, we have never been the best at this, but you have to start somewhere, right?! There are so many different apps and ways to go about this and I have recently found everydollar budget system that we really like (I actually found it on the Dave Ramsey website). Right now we really don’t have any wiggle room, which is why it’s so important to constantly keep track of our spending. We have never been really good with sticking to our budget, but now we’ve come to terms and are maturing with our financial decisions.

Right now we are living a frugal and simple life (although don’t get me wrong we still have very stressful days). It’s been a long and difficult road, but I’m finally learning to show gratitude and contentment in where we are (even if we’re not the richest folks on the block). Learning to be happy with what we have now and not always want more is helping to provide us with a simplier lifestyle (even during one of the hardest times of our life, and man was that a difficult lesson to learn).

The reality is this is a different type of lifestyle and with all things it takes time to change your spending habits over the years. Focusing on one thing at a time and evolving into multiple tactics have helped us to stay on track, basically getting into a routine of things. Focus is key, and also wanting it to work,  because if you’re not all in it’s very difficult to stay on track.

“The less you need, the happier you’ll be. Less is always more.”

Not everyday is easy, it takes a lot of self- control to stick to these tactics, but it’s well worth it. What are some ways that your family has been saving money?

Wishing you well,

~Amanda

Motherhood

The “BUZZ” About VIP Kid (How I’m making money with a very rewarding job while staying home.)

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I just recently went through the process of applying to become an ESL teacher with VIP Kid. Let me just say, it truly is a blessing that this job came into my life.

These past couple months I have been in a dilemma… I knew I had to start finding some type of way to supplement our income. I was quite honestly stressing about how I could contribute to our income while still being home with Little Johnny.

I know if it came down to it I could always go back to teaching in the classroom (which may happen soon), but I wanted to try out other options first. In the near future we want to extend our family and I would love to find a job that allows me to stay home with them as well. I’m just planning ahead.

>>>Click here <<<to start your journey with VIP Kid!

Image result for vipkid

How did I hear about this job?

So, about a month ago my mom was visiting us. We were sitting outside while discussing LIFE. She knew that I was overwhelmed by searching for “at home” jobs. I knew I couldn’t be picky, but I worked so hard for my education that I wanted to find a balance between staying at home with Little Johnny and also having a rewarding & fulfilling job.

Even at 28 years old, I needed my mom at that time. I needed her guidance and a “second eye” to help me search & try to find solutions. While sitting outside on our computer, we were on the “job hunt”. My mom came across the VIP Kid position, so I applied right then and there to start my journey with teaching English to children in Beijing. Amazing the things technology can bring us to, right?! 

The result…I LOVE this job! The honest truth…the application was easy to apply for, but the process was a different story, which I’ll share further down. The best advice I can give you is don’t let fear or the amount of work it takes get in the way of you applying. 

Would I recommend this job to others? YES! Even though it took a while to finally get my first booking from the time I applied and was hired (about 2-3 weeks), it was well worth it! Time & Persistence is the key…

There has been many  questions from followers and friends about the process, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity for me to answer them here!

Process for Getting Hired 


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Before even applying these are the must haves:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher (does not have to be in the field of education)
  • U.S. Citizen
  • 1 year experience working with children (classroom, day care, in-home child care, before & after school programs, tutoring…)

{STEPS}

  1. First follow this link by using my>>> referal code<<< to apply (it’s a very simple application).
  2. Once you’ve applied you’ll receive an email stating that you’ve been accepted to sign up for a demo class (first interview) where you’ll teach a 10 minute lesson to an adult in Beijing (they’ll act as a 5 year old student who doesn’t know any English). PRACTICE is KEY!
  3. You’ll recieve an email shortly after stating if you have been accepted to move onto MOCK 1, which is another interview. This time you’ll teach  for 25 minutes (a full lesson) to a proctor (an actual VIP Kid teacher who has advanced to become a proctor).
  4. If you do VERY WELL on your MOCK 1, then you don’t have to move onto MOCK 2. But don’t fret if you have to complete MOCK 2…many people have had to (including me). If you move onto MOCK 2 you’ll get an email to setup your last and final interview.
  5. Once you pass all interviews, then you’re in! (not bad, right?!) 😉 Then you upload a few documents, pictures, and a short intro video of yourself. Once that has been reviewed and submtted you can start scheduling your bookings!

I know it seems like so much work, but in the end it will pay off! 

Pros


  • you work from home
  • able to use your previous teaching skills
  • you can set your own schedule
  • very rewarding job
  • work with children one-on-one
  • curriculum is provided
  • short classes (25 minutes each)
  • many incentives included where you can make extra money
  • many deductions can be calculated for your taxes
  • still get paid for student “no shows”

Cons 

(There’s always “cons” in every situation, so I’m just laying it out for you! 🙂


  • the “working” hours can be early in the morning or late at night (or if you’re feeling up to it, an all nighter)
  • sometimes bookings are inconsistent (you don’t always get booked for the slots you open up)
  • students may cancel last minute, or tech problems
  • payments may differ based on how many bookings you had for the month
  • you’re hired as an independent contractor, so no taxes are taken out…which means make sure to save a percentage of your earnings so that way when tax season comes you’re not scrambling to come up with the money. (I believe they say between 20-30% of each paycheck, but don’t quote me on that.)

$$Pay$$


  • This varies, but typically it’s within the range of what I am currently getting paid…
    • $7.50 per class (25 minutes each) So I look at it as $15 an hour (that just sounds better to me, haha!)
    • There are so many incentives they offer as well! For example when someone else uses your referral code and gets hired you get a dollar amount (usually an extra $50 each referral, but depends on their monthly incentive program).
  • Paycheck are completed as a direct deposit on the 15th of each month

Week 1 & 2…


So, how is it actually going for me? I love it! So far my highest week of bookings has been on my second week with working for VIP Kid- 18 bookings (or classes)! This is a huge increase from week 1, so I’m very excited about it! I have chosen to work early mornings 4am-5:30am or late nights 9pm-12am. My highest bookings take place on the weekends.

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Here’s the big question many mamas ask me who are interested in this job. “Where is Little Johnny (my 18 month old son) while you teach?

Well, I plan my schedule around when Little Johnny is sleeping or when Big John is home. We live in a small apartment, so I was worried about Little Johnny waking up, but so far it has worked out. I have white noise on for him, which helps to drown out the noise of me teaching. As for the students hearing other things in my house, I just found out that you can get “noise canceling” headphones for that! Problem solved!

I’m ecstatic that I can still use my teaching skills while being at home with Little Johnny. I have so much fun with this job too! My husband today even stated when he heard me teaching this morning…”That sounded like a fun lesson!” 🙂

Supportive Facebook Groups


Ahhh, the lovely facebook for a great resource, who would have known?! Below I linked a few of my favorite ones that have (and still do) help me when I have questions.

VIPKID Moms

VIPKID Newbie Support 

VIPKID Videos & Props

Don’t stress about the process, I believe this is your opportunity that you were waiting for and it just takes a little bit of work to get there. Start your new journey with VIP Kid!

My goal for the income that I earn is to pay our rent, so I am hoping to book at least 32 classes a week , which I know I can get there soon! This is a great way to earn extra income to pay off debt, put towards a trip,  pay bills, or simply just for fun money.

So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try, seriously what do you have to lose?

If you have any questions feel free to email me using my contact info.

Psst…Quick Update! After working for 3 months! Here’s my most recent paycheck pictured below! I work 9pm-12am and average about 18-20 hours a week. I’m still loving this job! 

Wishing you well,

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Motherhood

4 Basics for Baby Proofing your Home

I recently teamed up with Erin Holdgate from Zillow to present to you…

Four Basics for Baby-Proofing Your Home


A safe home is a happy home, especially for new parents.

Preparing for your bundle of joy is an exciting, overwhelming and even costly experience at times, but baby-proofing the home is an important part of the process. Start with the rooms you anticipate spending the most time in, and make further evaluations once you’ve covered the basics.

Here are four baby-proofing tips for your home.

Fill and Block

Your baby will begin exploring the world with their hands in no time, so take steps to protect those little fingers. Place outlet covers over all unoccupied sockets, and try to conceal as many electrical cords as possible. Apply zip ties to keep the cords on DVD players and gaming consoles from hanging close to the ground, and protect your baby from the sharp edges of furniture with bumpers and corner guards. Finally, anchor all bookshelves, TV stands and other topheavy furniture to the wall to prevent tipping.

Keep Them Corralled

The majority of homes on the market in Orlando, FL were built in the 2000s, so there’s a good chance they have two stories. Safety gates should go at the bottom and top of stairs to prevent your baby from climbing up or falling down. Also, gate off rooms you don’t want them to enter, such as pet areas, dining rooms and laundry rooms. Kids are great escape artists, so opt for a gate with a complex latch that your little one is less likely to master.

Lock It Up

As your baby becomes more active, you’ll have to cover more ground. This means extending your babyproofing efforts beyond the living room and nursery. Start with doorknob safety covers on doors to other rooms, as well as the kitchen pantry, and place latches or locks on cabinet doors and drawers that hold silverware and scissors. Locks are especially important for the under-sink cabinets, a popular location to store dish detergent and cleaning supplies. You can always double up the armor on these chemicals by storing them in a large tub behind the locked cabinet.

Use Your Height

When your baby begins taking those first wobbly steps, they’ll most likely reach for anything that can stabilize them. Get down on the floor to see the world through their eyes, and remove anything that they might try to grab—like shiny votive candles or spiky houseplants. Are there forgotten game pieces under the couch? Does the doorstop cover come off easily? Move potential choking hazards to higher grounds. Install curtain cord wraps next to windows, or use a clip to hold cords up high, and consider storing laundry detergent and additional cleaning supplies on the top shelf of the linen closet.

Every home is different, but it’s vital to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for your baby. Make sure to do your research to determine the next steps and additional products you need to  baby-proof your home.

~Erin Holdgate

zillow.com

Motherhood

Store Bought Toddler Snacks!

Let’s talk about snacks, shall we?! I have a son who LOVES snacks, I think he takes after his mama. I am actually trying to cut back because he tends to get full off them, and doesn’t eat too much of his main meals. So when Little Johnny does have snacks I wanted to be a little bit more strategic on the type of foods that are going into his little tummy.  I’ve been on the look out for some fast and fun snacks that I can buy in stores. While grocery shopping today I decided to actually put a list of our favorite snacks for Little Johnny ,who is now 14 months old (can you believe that?!)

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sidenote- I had a blog post already prepared for today, but I scrachted  it because I just didn’t feel like it was “publish” worthy yet (the title is Finding your “niche” as a mom). I still want to write about it, but I think I need time to just gather my thoughts and revisit it at a later point. Anyways, back to SNACKS!

I’m an Aldi shopper and surprisingly they have great snacks besides pouches and cherrios, HA! (We still have those too, and YES I eat many of Little Johnny’s snacks as well). Little Johnny has always been more insterested in what we have been eating, so probably since he was about 8 or 9 months old we did baby led feeding (we just offered him foods that we ate, and of course we made sure it was things he could actually have.)

Here’s just a few items in our snack bucket (YES, we actually have a bucket dedicated to snacks). =)

Green Pea Crisps 

Johnny LOVES anything that is crunchy. So this is a healthier alternative that doesn’t have artifical ingredients and preservatives. He could seriously eat this whole bag in one sitting, if I let him! I like that this isn’t a very filling snack too.

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Spinach & Kale Bites 

These are new in our snack department. They are kept in the freezer and you can either bake them, pop them in the microwave, use a toaster oven, or prepare on a skillet. They’re so cute with the dinosaur shapes too! Johnny is not a big veggie person. So, these little guys are a fun alternative, which he actually likes. Aldi ‘s offers other varites too, but we haven’t tried any of them yet. These are probably easy to make on your own, but I’m just too busy to whip up some snacks in the kitchen. This packet cost $3.49 and serves about 20 pieces.
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Apples & String Cheese

Johnny likes eating apples just plain. He actually finds it fun to hold the big apple. I use to cut it up, but he prefers it “as is”. I start the apple for him so that I take off most of the skin, just to make sure he doesn’t choke on it. String chese is always a fun snack too!

Rasins 

Surprisingly rasins are very good for you! They are a snack that is rich in vitamin B, iron, and potassium. Plus, they’re a great source of carbohydrates. Don’t let these little guys fool you. =) They offer many health benefits, and are cheaper than actual grapes. We purchased this big container from Publix.

Mixed Nuts

I always keep a big thing of mixed nuts in my car because sometimes once I’m actually in the car I realize I’m starving and I need a quick, healthy, and satisfying snack! Recently I let Johnny try some and he actually enjoyed it. Right now he really likes cashews. I buy the unsalted variety at Aldi and I believe this big container comes out to be $12 and some change.

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I’m just not the type of mom that bakes snacks, so I reverted to some great store bought ones. I have a hard enough time cooking dinner as it is. =)

What’s your little ones favorite snacks?  I may need some inspiration, for we all know children’s taste buds tend to change!

Happy Snacking!

Wishing You Well,

Happy Mama, Happy Wife, Happy Life img_9442-1